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Doubts Mount over Rolling Stones Concert in Rome’s Circus Maximus. Where do you stand?

Doubts Mount over Rolling Stones Concert in Rome’s Circus Maximus. Where do you stand?

RS_14OF_A4-MasterDuring their “14 On Fire” Tour, The Rolling Stones will perform in Rome. Tickets for the June 22 concert are sold out already with prices that were kept at the lowest level in Europe due to a specific agreement with the city government.

In exchange, the British rock band got the privilege to play in a unique venue: the Circus Maximus. Actually, according to some, they would have only come to Rome if a very prestigious location was given to them. Or maybe the Stones want to challenge Pope Francis who last summer broke their 2006 Copacabana (Rio de Janeiro) concert record, gathering twice as many people for the World Youth Day Mass: 3 million vs 1,5 mln.

We can’t say, really. But as a matter of fact many people are against this concert. They fear that the 65,000 people expected to gather and the concert’s facilities and show can wreck the historical site which suffered  several damages in June 2001 when one million soccer supporters celebrated there AS Roma’s third Italian championship.

The Heritage ministry’s regional director approved the concert but the local Archaeology preservation unit (Soprintendenza) is against it. Right-leaning politicians criticize the delicate location, while those (leftwing) close to mayor Ignazio Marino are in favor of it. Confusion runs high!

The last time the Stones came to Rome was seven years ago for the “Bigger Bang Tour”. They played at the Olympic Stadium with a huge, mobile stage, higher than the stadium itself with Mick Jagger in great shape jumping for 2 hours and a half (he only had a song-long break) and enormous speakers that you could really feel inside your tummy. Only 35,000 people attended the 2007 concert probably because tickets cost 177€! Their previous performance in Rome had taken place in 1990.

They could play again at the Olympic stadium, the Soprintendenza says, or in the Tor Vergata esplanade. But Marino actually wants the Circus Maximus to become Rome’s main venue even for future major cultural events….

Anyway, many people are expected to come to Rome from the UK, country not included in the European tour after last year’s legendary Hyde Park concert. And, by the way, how many other performances will The Rolling Stones be able to do?

This may well be their last concert in Italy. At their venerable age (they started playing in 1963), after 51 years of honorable career, they’re close to retirement. And this may occur any time after the end of the current world tour….

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